2020 Paul Bourke Award Presentation:
Press Freedom and National Security
Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh in Conversation with Professor Peter Greste
In 2019, following successive police raids on journalists, Australia dropped 5 places (to 26) in the World Press Freedom Index. Once the model for press freedom in the Asia-Pacific, Reporters Without Borders said Australia “is now characterised by its threats to the confidentiality of sources and to investigative journalism.” Although press freedom is central to free speech, public accountability and the rule of law, in Australia press freedom lacks the legal protections found in other liberal democracies. This has allowed legislation and police powers – particularly in the national security field – to encroach on press freedom by criminalising journalism and compromising reporters’ ethical obligations to their sources.
In this interview, award-winning journalist, press freedom advocate and UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communications, Professor Peter Greste, speaks with 2019 Paul Bourke Award winner Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh about an interdisciplinary research project which maps and unpacks the impacts of Australian national security law on press freedom. In doing so, the project examines the relationship between the law and journalistic process, identifies how legislation ‘chills’ speech, and sets a path for law reform to support Australian media in its critical fourth estate role.
The Paul Bourke Lectures are named in honour of the late Paul Francis Bourke (1938–1999), President of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia from 1993–1997. These lectures are presented each year by the recipients of the previous year’s Paul Bourke Awards for Early Career Research.
This lecture is jointly hosted by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and The University of Queensland School of Law, and School of Communication and Arts.